Although the most well-known springtime NCAA championship occurs on the hardwood, the most exciting of this season occurred on the ice. Although a true Cinderella failed to emerge in basketball, a team did slip on the proverbial glass slipper to advance to Hockey’s “Frozen Four,” and having the most exciting game of the year in the final made it the best NCAA championship of the year.
As an east-coast hockey fan, I know many readers will glance at this column and find nothing with which to relate. My conversations with west-coast friends reveal that the sport is not as popular as it is back home. However, this tournament’s excitement, and the fact that all hockey arenas make sure that both the sport and the two intermissions are extremely fan-friendly, made me want to plug it this week.
A short recap: Boston University came in as overwhelming favorites, with a 20-2-3 in their last 25 games; they were the number one overall seed. Meanwhile, little known Bemidji State, winners of the College Hockey America conference, advanced as the 16th seed to the ‘frozen four’, beating overall number two seed Notre Dame, 5-1, and then seven seed Cornell, 4-1. What made it even more special is that Bemidji St. does not have a conference for next year, as theirs is disbanding. However their bid to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association was definitely improved by their performance, before ultimately falling to Miami (OH) in the semi-finals.
In the finals, BU, the best team in the nation, looked to cruise and squash the Miami (OH) RedHawks’ bid for their first National Championship in any sport. However, with 4:08 left, Miami center Trent Vogelhuber tallied a goal to make it 3-1, a seemingly insurmountable lead. Soon after, with 3:32 left, Coach Jack Parker of BU pulled his goalie, leaving the net empty in a high-risk move to give the number one offense in the NCAA’s a one man advantage for the rest of the game. The game looked out of reach at 3-1, but with 59.5 seconds remaining, Zach Cohen gave BU hope with a backhand shot to lessen the defecit to one. Nick Bobino put a wrister past Miami’s goalie Cody Reichard to tie it with 17 seconds left, completing the unbelievable comeback and sending the game into OT.
Twelve minutes into OT, BU defenseman Colby Cohen took a clapper from the left, which deflected off of Miami senior defenseman Kevin Roeder and spun into the top right corner of the net to win the game for the Terriers, adding an unbelievable finish to an unbelievable game.